Les Paul with thinner body, but not a lite

Gitarrensammler

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Hello, i recently purchased a Les Paul that has some questions to be answered. It´s at first view a black 2-PU Artisan with correct 1978 serial number.
But - the guitar has all chrome/nickel hardware. I know, this was a custom order then for the custom model but i have never seen an Artisan with chrome.
Do You know, if this was a possible custom order too?
The guitar has Sperzel locking tuners but no extra holes from removing the common tuners. It does not lokk, like they have been changed.
And - the biggest surprise - the body is thinner. Not 5cm, but 4,5 cm. Not as slim as a lite bis significantly slimmer than a normal Artisan.
So what do i have here? The guitar sounds, plays and looks amazing.

85 Gibson Les Paul Artisan 01.jpg

Les Paul body.JPG

85 Gibson Les Paul Artisan 07.jpg

Thank you for your help and expertise.
 

msalama

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A Japanese copy? No idea really. C'mon ye Norlin geezers, own up :)
 

Gitarrensammler

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No copy - authentic Gibson!
I am a collector and i am sure i can tell a copy from a real Gibson, but this very nice Artisan makes me wonder.
Many Artisan users dont like the weight, the gold hardware and even the 3 pickup setup is not everyone´s taste. My Artisan is a proper solution of all these complaints.

The guitar is not as "shiny" as it looks in the first pic. Very good condition but with proper vintage vibe.
 
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Gitarrensammler

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Just opened the electrics. Does this help to identify? What kind of pickups are this? Artisans should have tarbacks, correct?

85 Gibson Les Paul Artisan 12.jpg

85 Gibson Les Paul Artisan 14.jpg

85 Gibson Les Paul Artisan 20.jpg
 

mudface

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Why does your pictures date this as a '85 Artisan?

and yet you say the serial number says it's a 1978?

IMG_2804.PNG
 

ArchEtech

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Those tuners are not original. They don’t have screws, the Sperzel have little rods that dig into the wood or an existing screw hole for alignment. I don’t know Sperzel we’re available but it wasn’t the 1980’s.

Cool guitar as a one off. Like the inlays. The headstock is a bit much? Is the body carve atypical?
 

Gitarrensammler

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85 does not mean the year, its just my system of storing pics. The Artisan is my 85th guitar.
Like a cataloque number.
As for the Sperzel tuners. They don´t have screws, correct, but the common Artisan tuners have screws and there would be holes left, if they had been changed.

The body carve is not atypical for the outline and the top-carve. It´s only 0,5 centimeters slimmer than the usual LP body.
 

mudface

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The pickups are not T-Tops or Tarbacks.... may not be original and could be a 490 type later pickups...maybe Shaws but a closer inspection with the cover removed is required..... or a reading of the ohms could help,... as 490s are a higher output than Shaws. Neither Shaws or 490s are period correct for 1978.

Some of the wiring and pots is not original either.

In 1978 Shielding cans were used.

Also the route is not correct for a 1978 Artisan.

Here is an example of a correct Artisan route for 1978
images.jpg
 
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cmjohnson

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Tagging this just for the interest. I may be learning something here. I have no opinion to offer, Artisans being outside the range of guitars I have any experience with.
 

Gitarrensammler

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If its a custom order, then anything is possible. At that time there were all sorts of oddities, and it could have been equally for a customer or a staff member. In that case there would be no 'model'.
That´s what i´m hoping for. A custom ordered unique model.
i just need to prove, if that´s correct.
I already asked the European customer service, but they have records with s/n only from the late eighties onwards.
Who would be able to tell the specs, a certain serialnumber was delivered or built with?
Are there still records dating back to 1978?
 

mudface

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That´s what i´m hoping for. A custom ordered unique model.
i just need to prove, if that´s correct.
I already asked the European customer service, but they have records with s/n only from the late eighties onwards.
Who would be able to tell the specs, a certain serialnumber was delivered or built with?
Are there still records dating back to 1978?
That is the problem with '70s Norlin.... record keeping was piss poor at best..... Custom one-offs from Kalamazoo especially. This makes appraising some of these guitars difficult.... Known models that fit the basic manufacturing specs are easier to follow than Custom orders....(no general specs are followed).... We only know what was available at the time it was made..... the cavity route aside,..we know Shaws and 490s weren't available in 1978 or locking Sperzel tuners or the Pot type that are used here. What were the original parts is hard to say.... Tarbacks were commonly used in '78 for Artisans but it could have been ordered with T-Tops,... who's to say.
 
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ARandall

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They barely kept any records fullstop. It wasn't the internet age where things were dissected to the molecular level, and it didn't matter to the factory what the specs of one- off guitars were.
I mean even now Gibson doesn't keep records of what model each serial number is.
 

Gitarrensammler

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the neck feels and plays very good and the look is absolutely killer.
i am just wondering, if paying an Artisan price for this guitar would be appropriate.
But i did it anyway and i love the guitar!
 

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